# Relative Piece Values

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How much are the individual chess pieces worth?

Pawns are 1, Bishops & Knights are 3, Rooks are 5, and Queens are 9, right? All done? Nope. The value of the pieces change throughout phases of the game and depending on the specific combination of pieces, their evaluation as a whole may change.

We know 3 + 3 is 6.

Bishops thrive in open positions and are usually worth more than 3 points, let’s say, 3.3. However, having BOTH bishops in an open position (while the opponent doesn’t) gives you what we call the “Bishop Pair” which in fact can be worth 7 points or even more.

3.3 + 3.3 = 7 !?  The specific bishop-bishop combination gives extra firepower.

Relative Piece Values

During the opening and middlegame, a bishop is superior to 3 pawns.

During the endgame, a bishop is about equal to 3 pawns.

During the opening and middlegame, a knight is equal to 3 pawns.

During the endgame, a knight is usually weaker than 3 pawns!

During the opening and middlegame, a rook is better than 5 pawns.

During the endgame, a rook is roughly equal to 5 pawns.

During the opening and middlegame:

R ≈ B + 2P ≈ N +2P

R + P < B + N

R + 2P ≈ B + N (7=6? – yes)

Q < 3 minor pieces

Q ≈ R + B + P

Q ≈ R + N + 2P

Q < 2R

Q > B + N + 3P

Q ≈ 2B + 3P

Q + P ≈ 2 R

Q + P ≈ 2 N + B

Q + P < 2B + N (10 is less than 9? – Yes sir)

2R ≈ 3 minor pieces

2R ≈ 2B + 3P

2R > N + B + 3P

2R + N ≈ R + 2B + P (The presence of a rook benefits the bishop pair)

2R + P < R + B + N

2R + 2P ≈ R + B + N

Most players tend to underestimate the value of the 2 bishops combined! By no means are these values absolute. Remember that the quality of the pieces also play a big role! But in terms of counting material, these ratios are fairly accurate.

The ratios change in the endgames though.

The full article at KairavAcademy.com lists the endgame ratios as well.

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